Family, food, and friends are the heart of Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp. The story alternates narrators starting with Pen who struggles with telling her parents that she would rather run her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s, than live out the dreams her parents have for her future. At Nacho’s, everyone is family, including newcomer Xander who wants to discover the secret of his father’s disappearance while keeping his immigrant status under cover. These two realize their struggles are better dealt with together, and sparks fly in more places than just the kitchen.
I applaud Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet for telling an authentic Latinx story. While romance is key to the plot of the 337 page novel, this is more a beautiful self-discovery journey than a love story. I’m going to give the book 3 stars because it took me a while to get into it; the ending was also very abrupt. If the way to your heart is through your stomach and well-written characters, pick up Laekan Zea Kemp’s debut novel Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet when it hits shelves in April 2021!